NAWJ Monthly Update December 2020

Written by National Association of Women Judges|December 03, 2020|Monthly Update Archive

View this email in your browser

Monthly Update

December 2020
Volume 18, Issue 11

The holiday season is now upon us. With COVID cases increasing around the country, we find ourselves in a situation none of us would ever have chosen. Yet despite this, or because of it, new connections to the world around us are being forged.  Hopefully, we are all able to find some solace from the loneliness forced by the pandemic through these new connections.

We continue to expand opportunities through the use of technology. The overwhelming majority of the members who attended our first virtual conference ranked it as “excellent.” The most common comment received in feedback was “offer virtual as an option in 2021.” Of course, we are all looking forward to the time when we can gather together in person but this is a measure of how much our world has changed in the last nine months.

One such opportunity was my ability to attend the National Center for State Court’s Justice Roundtable and William Rehnquist Award presentation on November 19th. Normally held at the U.S. Supreme Court, this year was a virtual event attended by over 100 people from around the country. Unsurprisingly, the focus of the Roundtable was virtual hearings today and in the future.

I encourage the District Directors and State Chairs to develop more opportunities for our members to connect through virtual book clubs. “happy hours with a purpose” or “district mixers.” From where I sit in the wide expanse of District 13, I’ve enjoyed seeing friends in other states that I’m unable to see in person this year and meeting new members at book club zoom meetings.

I am in the process of completing committee assignments. As I’ve indicated previously, some of our committees will change in order to enable us to more fully accomplish the goals in the 5-year Strategic Plan. An announcement of all committee assignments will be made soon. Laurie and I are also in discussions about new revenue opportunities and our fundraising efforts. Sustainability of the organization is a key focus for the board this year. If you have not already contributed, please consider a year end gift to NAWJ.

In closing, I wish each of you all the very best of the holidays and hope that each of you enjoy the joy of the season in non-traditional, safe gatherings with family and friends.
Hon. Karen Donohue
Judge, King County Superior Court
NAWJ President


The Fall 2020 Issue of Counterbalance is now available online.  You can view and/or download the issue here.

NAWJ has also published a special tribute for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  You can view and download the publication here.


Thank you for all of your support on Giving Tuesday.  If you did not have an opportunity to participate, it is not too late to submit your tax deductible donation to NAWJ. As you are aware, the pandemic and postponement of the NAWJ Annual Conference has severely impacted the NAWJ resources. There are several ways you can help:
  • Making a tax-deductible donation on the NAWJ website or by check
  • Converting your current membership to a Lifetime Member (Option to pay over 3 years)
  • Leaving a legacy through a planned gift
  • Selecting NAWJ as your charity on AmazonSmile, where 0.5% of every purchase will be donated to NAWJ


If you have any questions regarding access to these social media platforms or have recommendations for posts, please contact

Hon. Francine L. Applewhite, Department of Labor/Office of Administrative Judges,
North Bethesda, MD
Hon. Kimberly Y. Best, Mecklenburg County District Court, Charlotte, NC
Ms. Erin Coleman, Law Offices of Erin Coleman, Nashville, TN
Hon. Christine N. Donovan, Contra Costa County Superior Court, Martinez, CA
Hon. Tiffany Foxworth-Roberts, 19th Judicial District Court, Div. M, Sect. VIII,
Baton Rouge, LA
Hon. Rosie Speedlin Gonzalez, Bexar County Court At Law No. 13, San Antonio, TX
Hon. Leticia Hinojosa, 13th Court of Appeals, McAllen, TX
Hon. Shaniek Mills Maynard, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida,
Port St. Lucie, FL
Ms. Ciara Monet McManus, Catholic University of America School of Law, Arlington, VA
Hon. Danette Mincey, Federal Administrative Law Judge, Mount Pleasant, SC
Hon. Llinet M. Rosado, Bronx Supreme Court, Civil Term, Bronx, NY
Hon. Naita A. Semaj, Bronx Civil Court, Bronx, NY
Hon. Wanda M. Stokes, Ingham Circuit Court, Mason, MI
Hon. Lorrie Ann Sinclair Taylor, Loudoun County General District Court, Leesburg, VA


This section recognizes those in our NAWJ community, and keeps our members apprised of notable news going on around the country. Please share any news from your district, yourself, or a member within the NAWJ community on this form so we can include in upcoming NAWJ communications. 

Justice Raquel Montoya-Lewis honored by American Board of Trial Advocates - NAWJ member Justice Raquel Montoya-Lewis of the Washington State Supreme Court was named "Judge of the Year" by the American Board of Trial Advocates. Justice Montoya-Lewis was also recently featured in an article by Crosscut about her work and efforts to encourage others from underrepresented communities to see themselves working in the legal system. Click here to read the article.

Administrative Law Judge Cheryl Whelan Voted in as Trustee - The Command and General Staff College Foundation Board of Trustees unanimously voted in LTC (Ret) Cheryl Whelan as a trustee. Judge Whelan began her three-year term in August 2020. The Foundation is a tax-exempt, non-profit foundation that provides resources and support to the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The CGSC Foundation enhances the development of agile and adaptive leaders by helping connect the American public with the Army and the College in support of multi-service, interagency and international leaders. As part of its mission, the Foundation offers educational programs to civilian leaders.

Judge Lisette Shirdan-Harris Appointed to Administrative Judge - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently appointed The Honorable Lisette Shirdan-Harris the Administrative Judge of the First Judicial District’s Trial Division effective November 2nd.  Elected in 2005, Judge Shirdan-Harris has served in all major divisions of the court, including the Family and Criminal Divisions and was appointed Supervising Judge of the Civil Trial Division just three months ago. In her new role as Administrative Judge, she will oversee administration of both the Civil and Criminal Trial divisions which includes adult probation and parole all administrative matters, including the assign. Click here to read more.

Judge Elizabeth White - NAWJ President-Elect Judge Elizabeth White has joined JAMS as an arbitrator/mediator. Click here to read announcement.
NAWJ is grateful for the 2020 Resource Board Members and Landmark Sponsors who have generously supported our organization.

Resource Board Members
Nicole Erb, Esq. (Co-Chair), White & Case LLP
Sarah London, Esq. (Co-Chair), Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP
Elizabeth Cabraser, Esq., Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP
Kelly Dermody, Esq., Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP
Andrea Bear Field, Esq., Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
Patricia Hollenbeck, Esq., Duane Morris LLP
Jamie Zysk Isani, Esq., Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
Robert Kaufman, Esq., Proskauer Rose LLP
Heather McDevitt, Esq., White & Case LLP
Diane McGimsey, Esq., Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
The Honorable Mary Becnel, Retired
Ron DaLessio, CourtCall
Dawn Jayma, The Killino Firm, PC
Linda Leali, Esq., Linda Leali, P.A.
Thomas Leighton, Thomson Reuters
Afsoon McClellan, LexisNexis
Donna Melby, Esq., Paul Hastings
Elaine Metlin, Esq., Retired
Christopher Poole, JAMS
Cathy Winter-Palmer, Retired

Landmark Sponsors
The Honorable Mary Becnel
Robert Kaufman
Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Thomson Reuters Corporation
White & Case LLP

JAMS, Inc.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
Follow on Facebook
Follow on Instagram
Connect on LinkedIn
Follow on Twitter

Connect With Us

Facebook Twitter